Monday, June 2, 2008

Phoenixville among 11 sites nominated for minor-league stadium

11 sites nominated for possible ballpark Among the places listed are the Wyeth-Ayerst plot and a spot in the Atwater Business Campus.

By Don Beideman
Inquirer Staff Writer

The call for possible sites to build a 4,000- to 5,000-seat baseball stadium in the county has resulted in 11 nominations, including a spot in the Atwater Business Campus in East Whiteland Township owned by a major developer.

The request for locations was made by the Chester County Stadium Project Task Force, which hopes that the stadium - or the promise of one - will help attract a minor-league baseball team.

In addition to the Atwater business campus site, other sites nominated include the former Phoenix Steel Co. property in Phoenixville; a privately owned area off U.S. Route 322 in West Brandywine; borough-owned property in South Coatesville; the former Wyeth-Ayerst site in West Chester; two privately owned tracts in Caln Township; another in Penn Township (Jennersville); one in East Pikeland; and one in East Vincent.

The task force also included a site on the West Chester University campus.

In many cases, the task force did not disclose the names of owners of privately owned properties that had been nominated until they had a chance to meet with the owners.

"All of them submitted responses although some were more sophisticated than others," said Tom McIntyre of the Chester County Economic Development Council and a member of the task force. In newspaper advertisements last month, the task force asked private land owners, developers and municipalities to recommend sites.

Recommendations were to be made through a Web site set up by the task force. The deadline was Tuesday.

McIntyre said the task force's review committee would look at the applications to see that they meet the criteria. Potential sights needed to have a minimum of 13-16 acres of gross usable land.

"We'll probably be taking some field trips in the next few weeks to look at sites," said West Chester Mayor Dick Yoder, who first raised the subject of a stadium on the 32-acre Wyeth-Ayerst property. Wyeth has agreed to sell the property to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which is considering a number of options for developing it.

McIntyre indicated that a submission for the Atwater campus site by Trammell Crow, a development management firm, was among the more sophisticated proposals. The business campus is located on Route 29 north of 202, near East Whiteland's border with Charlestown Township.

South Coatesville submitted a site on Upper Gap Road that contains 51.6 acres. It surrounds another privately owned 10 acres which the borough would like to purchase.

"We'd like to do some revitalization in the borough," said manager Dennis Forrest, implying that a stadium would fit in. Forrest said the borough's initial plans were to put ballfields on the site. He submitted the application for the stadium site after seeing the task-force ad.

Proponents of the Phoenix Steel site were among the first to make inquiries to the task force. Although the site is privately owned, borough council has gone on record supporting the site for a stadium.

Contact staff writer Don Beideman at 610-701-7613 or


Anonymous said...

Is there any way to find out exactly where those other proposed sites are? In particular, the East Pikeland and East Vincent proposals?

Karen said...

I'm sure, Anonymous, that the exact locations will be publically available soon.

I don't have any information on the location of either of those sites.

I'll post them here as soon as I learn where they are.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the sites is a Superfund site in Kimberton.

Oh wait- thats where we are going to mandate our children to spend 8 hours a day/ 180 days per year for 8 years.

Sorry, my bad.
Who would ever want to put a stadium on a Superfund site????

FSL said...

One issue the Inquirer article doesn't really get into is territorial rights of the Phillies and of current minor league teams in the area. The Wilmington Blue Rocks' and Reading Phillies' territories include all of New Castle County, DE and Berks County plus anything outside their home counties but within 15 miles of their county lines.

An affiliated team anywhere around here would require the approval of the Phils. An affiliated team in Phoenixville would require the approval of the R-Phils. A team in West Chester would require the approval of the Blue Rocks.

The only site location mentioned that is outside these teams' territories is the one in East Whiteland.

If the group goes after a New York-Penn league team, the most likely candidate would be the Williamsport Crosscutters, already a Phils farm team and not drawing well in attendance. The Phils would be most likely to OK a move-in by their own farm club (as they did in Allentown, after vetoing another team earlier).

An additional option is an independent league team, either from the Atlantic League (which includes Camden and Lancaster) or the Cam-Am League (which includes Atlantic City). MLB teams and affiliated minor league teams have no veto over independents (Lancaster got an indie after Reading vetoed an affiliated team moving-in several years ago).

I'd like to see minor league baseball around here. I am concerned that Yoder is throwing away taxpayer money without having done his homework on an ego trip. I doubt the Blue Rocks would approve any team in their area; they draw well from Southern Chester County. The R-Phils might go along with team in Phoenixville or Exton, which are at the edge of their territories; especially if the re-located team is another Phils' farm club and the Phils approve of and push for the move.